NORTHEAST GLENDALE â€” Glendale Community College's baseball team began Saturday afternoon's Western State Conference tilt with a bang â€” it ended it with little more than a whisper.
â€œWe didn't compete very well, we didn't compete very well at all,â€ said Glendale college Coach Chris Cicuto after his team's 7-2 WSC Southern Division loss to L.A. Valley College at Stengel Field. â€œWe just lost our energy, that's it.â€
The Vaqueros (9-12, 5-6 in conference), who fell into fourth place behind Valley (13-10, 6-5) after the loss, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but went stagnant there after.
Much of the credit for keeping the Vaqueros stranded at two runs should go to Valley starter Drew Vassil, who went the distance and faced just one over the minimum for a span from the fifth inning to the eighth.
â€œI thought he pitched real well,â€ Valley Coach Dave Mallas said. â€œHe kept them off-balance. ...He pounded the strike zone for nine innings.â€
Vassil's counterpart, St. Francis graduate Andrew Sember pitched three scoreless inning to start before allowing a run in the fourth.
Sember, who was making a spot start and usually comes out of the bullpen, was relieved by Patrick Vandehey in the fifth.
â€œHe did an awesome job,â€ said Cicuto of Sember, who allowed four hits in four innings. â€œThat's a plus.â€
The biggest negative for GCC came in the top of the sixth.
â€œ[An] absolute spiral down hill,â€ Cicuto said. â€œWe got in a black hole.â€
Three straight singles â€” including a misplayed bunt â€” a walk and a sacrifice fly resulted in a 3-2 Valley lead and the end of Vandehey's day.
Byron Pacheco, who was scheduled to start, but had missed practice the day prior due to an illness, came on in relief and pitched the 3 2/3 innings.
Two more runs came around, all of them charged to Vandehey, who took the loss after allowing four runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter in 1 1/3 innings of work.
â€œOur hitters did a pretty good job of getting to their pen,â€ Mallas said. â€œThat just seemed to be the difference.â€
Pacheco held the Monarchs scoreless through the seventh and eighth before they tacked on another run on a suicide squeeze.
Glendale college tried the same play in the second, but Bryan Jackson, who went three for four on the day, was dead to rights as the bunt went right back to the pitcher.
The Vaqueros also bunted into a double play in the fourth.
â€œWe weren't on the same page today,â€ Cicuto said. â€œWe couldn't even get our bunts down, we didn't execute stuff like that.â€
Glendale college hit into four double plays, with clean-up hitter Yuya Okuda responsible for three.
Chris Arredondo and Ellis Bowen Jr. walked to start the Vaqueros' first. Michael Mendoza, who went two for two with two walks and a stolen base, singled in Arredondo, before Lazaro Fonta singled in Bowen for a 2-0 lead.
After that, the Vaqueros offense went quietly.
â€œJust so quiet,â€ Cicuto said.
?GRANT GORDON is the sports editor. He can be reached at (818) 637-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.